Greece’s Revenue Authority Suspects Widespread Money-Laundering

(Photo by Eurokinissi/Yorgos Kontarinis, FILE)

ATHENS – Greece’s Independent Public Revenues Authority chief Giorgos Pitsilis said there will be audits of “suspicious transactions” by accountants, real estate agents, merchants and others aimed at detecting whether money laundering is involved.

He told a briefing of Chambers of Commerce officials the agency has 14 “indications” that dirty money is flowing through professionals as he addressed jewelers, realtors, car importers and fine arts dealers, the business newspaper Naftemporiki said.

Among the warning signs, he said, were:

  • Unwillingness” by a client or a client’s representative to provide required documentation to prove one’s identity
  • Insistence by the client on paying in cash, which is legal
  • Using personal bank accounts instead of corporate accounts in transactions by companies
  • Buying high-end luxury items such as speedboats, luxury cars and fine art by buyers in offshore tax havens’
  • Unusual “nervousness” by a client or clients
  • Repeated transactions for sums just below the limit for declaring to tax officials
  • Frequent changes in a client’s address unconnected with professional activity
  • Constant changes in a client’s appearance
  • Home and business phones permanently off the hook
  • Real estate transactions where a property has just passed to a seller